SOHRA (MEGHALAYA), July 28 (IANS): The Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT), a new electronic voting machine (EVM) that gives out a paper trail as proof, operated flawlessly in a mock poll conducted in Meghalaya, an Election Commission official said Thursday.
On Tuesday, braving the rains, people participated in a mock poll in Cherrapunjee, one of the wettest places on earth, to test the credibility of the VVPT machines developed by the Bharat Electronic Limited and Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).
"The VVPT which were on field trial at a mock poll was found to be flawless, barring few human errors and technical snags," Election Commission secretary Anuj Jaipuria told IANS.
Jaipuria, who interacted with the voters who tested the machines, said: "Majority of the people expressed satisfaction over the new system."
"Now it is up to the Election Commission to take a decision on using it," he said, adding that the decision would be arrived at after after screening the feedback received from voters where the mock polls were conducted.
The VVPT comprises a printer trail unit linked to the EVM, using an EVM-printer interface.
There are two models. One has a closed printer unit where the voter can see the printed ballot that will automatically slip into a ballot box attached to the printer. The other model has an open printer from which the voter can get the ballot printout and can put it in a ballot box.
Member of the expert committee, Dinesh Kumar Sharma, who was appointed by the election panel to oversee the functioning of the new system, said: "Both the printers (open and close) attached to the EVM were satisfactory, but majority preferred the closed printer system."
He said the provision of printed ballot papers would enable officials to recount the votes in case of any dispute between candidates.
The Election Commission conducted mock elections in 175 polling booths in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, east Delhi in Delhi and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan to test the prototype VVPT system.
"These five areas were selected because of the extreme weather conditions. We wanted to get an effective assessment on these new machines," Meghalaya's Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik told IANS.
The VVPT trial was decided upon after repeated allegations that EVMs are being tampered to manipulate election results. Currently, a VVPT-like system is used in Venezuela and some states of the US.